White, along with fellow UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, spent months and months trying to land the Russian legend after he finished his career with Pride Fighting Championships, but despite their best efforts and offers, they could never get the deal done.
Eventually, Emelianenko opted to retire from the sport and focus on his family back home in Russia and since that time, very little has been heard from the iconic heavyweight fighter.
His name still comes up from time to time, like last weekend following the conclusion of UFC 159, when a Russian reporter asked White about the company coming to his country for a show.
White has teased the UFC coming to Russia for some time now, but no deal has been struck to actually land the promotion there yet, and currently, there is no timeline when an event could even happen.
It was then that M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelstein's name came up as a topic of conversation. See, Finkelstein runs M-1 Global, an MMA promotion primarily based out of Russia, but he also happens to be Emelianenko's manager, business partner and advisor.
Finkelstein led the negotiations for Emelianenko to land in the UFC, but obviously, the deal never came to fruition.
Now with Emelianenko happy in retirement, Finkelstein has talked recently about working with the UFC if the organization decided to come to Russia, stating in an interview with CombatBear.com: "I'm ready to talk and work…I'm ready to give them my champions if we can come to an agreement."
The subject matter still seems to ruffle White's feathers a bit after he spent so much time trying to land Finkelstein's prize fighter but could never come to an amicable agreement.
"That's cool of him. So now Fedor's retired, M-1 Global didn't work and now he's open to working with us? He's a smart dude," White said. "Vadim blew it in every way possible that you could blow it. We went there, we made Fedor an incredible offer and M-1 was a part of that whole thing cause I don't know how that whole relationship works, but if he would have come in and he would have fought—he would have made a lot of money."
Now years later, with the UFC still producing very good numbers along with a multi-million dollar deal with Fox television, White knows that Finkelstein has to regret his decision back then to turn down the UFC's offer and allow Emelianenko to retire without ever testing himself in the UFC.
"That dude must f—king go to bed every night and lay down and just motherf—k himself until he falls asleep. Seriously. he must," White said about Finkelstein. "I don't even know how it's possible how he couldn't."
Emelianenko retired with a 35-4-1 record overall and is still widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight fighter in MMA history. He's also one of the few iconic fighters in the sport's history to never have competed in the UFC.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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